A judge found three members of Pussy Riot — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich — guilty of “hooliganism,” while hundreds of people protested outside the courthouse, calling for “Russia without Putin.” The judge in the case, Marina Syrova, said the three defendants “committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred.” The sentence has yet to be handed down, but Putin himself has publicly called for leniency in sentencing, though many believe he wishes to make an example out of the punk collective.
The women have been held in prison awaiting trial for the past five months, and prosecutors in the case have asked for a three year sentence, though they could face up to seven years, according to Russian law. The women of Pussy Riot have amassed an international cadre of supporters, including musicians Bjork and Madonna, actress Chloe Sevingy, and even Russian chess champion Gary Kasparov.
UPDATE: The women received a sentence of two years in jail, with the judge saying that they had “crudely undermined social order.” [Huffington Post]
Last night at her concert in Moscow, Madonna appealed for the release of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band which has been jailed for five months after speaking out publicly against President Vladimir Putin. This video sent chills up and down my arms as Madonna spoke about censorship, democracy and freedom. What an incredible reminder not to take our freedom of speech for granted.
The three women were charged with hooliganism for performing a “punk prayer” at a Moscow church and praying for Putin to be removed from the presidency. During their five months of imprisonment, the women say they’ve been mistreated in jail. Their trial began on Monday and the women have said their judge is biased against them. I’ve been writing about Pussy Riot daily in Today’s Lady News, but Mother Jones has a good recap here. [YouTube]
Madonna is so amazing that, she apparently fears, her fans may just want to steal her DNA. So she does what any normal person would do: She has a “sterilization team” charged with wiping down her dressing room after every gig so that no stray hair, skin, or saliva remains. The Mirror gets this fascinating tidbit from a concert promoter in Portugal, where the Material Girl’s tour arrived yesterday; he adds that Madonna’s team also builds the entire dressing area using fake ceilings and walls, to ensure there are no hidden cameras. Read more…